Publisher's Note:  

Successful New York food writer Tressa Nolan has a great life -- wonderful friends, a gorgeous apartment, and of course fabulous food -- but the idea of turning forty alone scares her, so she marries the next man who asks: Dan, her building's super. He's handsome and he adores her, but soon after the wedding Tressa regrets her decision. Everything from Dan's unsophisticated interests to his enormous (and intrusive) Irish-American family sets her teeth on edge. Why couldn't she have the perfect marriage her grandparents had? What Tressa doesn't know -- what she only discovers when she reads her Grandma Bernadine's journal-cum- recipe book -- is that she's following in Bernadine's footsteps, and like all the best recipes, a perfect marriage calls for a long, slow simmer.

Recipes for a Perfect Marriage

by Morag Prunty

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Overall Review:  

Recipes for a Perfect Marriage showcases the difficulties and hardships that arise in marriage—especially when people (mistakenly) think that as soon as you say ‘I do’, it’s peaches and cream from now on—no more hard work involved!

I am definitely of two minds when it comes to this book.  On the one hand, I loved the flow of the story!  Going back and forth between Tressa (whose contemporary views and language—and even the feel and style of the writing reminded me of the book Eat, Pray, Love) and her grandmother, Bernadine (which read like a lovely historical fiction) was fascinating!  The points made about marriage and moments of genuine good sense and advice about marriage and life itself were absolutely marvelous!  Many of the realizations were so beautiful: the stepping back and looking through someone else’s eyes to see yourself, or the finding out more about another person in order to see them more clearly.  I absolutely LOVED the moment of connection between Tressa and her mother in law!  I have to admit, I teared up a bit! 

On the other hand, I detested all the whining, complaining, self-pity and bitterness.  There were many times throughout this book that I wanted to scream at these women!  Just throttle them and yell, “Get a Grip!!!  Don’t you see what you have?!?”  They whined and complained about the men in their lives; they griped about how they didn’t really love the men they had married and gave reason after reason why (like clipping toenails in bed or the way they chew).  They were petty and selfish and self-centered.  But, really, how many people get married, then are totally disillusioned after that first little while and decide that it’s not worth it, give up, and move on?

In the end, was it worth it?  Was it worth sifting through all the complaining to reach the conclusion that marriage is hard work?  For me, I felt the resolution was satisfying and the whole point of the book was well thought out—and something that is very needed in today’s world of failed marriages and unhappy lives.  Recipes for a Perfect Marriage is a fast read full of life and learning, with some wonderful insights into what marriage and love really mean and the effort it actually takes to make it work—and make it Perfect!

Content Analysis:  

There is a lot of moderate to strong profanity throughout--about 1-2 words per page on average.  There are also many f-words (more than 10)!  It is especially concentrated during moments of anger. 

There is a character who is a very angry drunk.  When he is drunk, he becomes very verbally and physically abusive.  Only two instances are mentioned in some detail. 

There is sexual content all throughout.  Some of it is more mild than others.  There is a great deal of talk about sexual relationships before marriage (one-night stands, drunken evenings, affairs, meaningless flings) as well as some instances after marriage (both between husband and wife and as some stolen kisses and almost affairs).  All instances are told with minor detail and in a very matter of fact manner.

Mature Subject Matter:  

The mature themes revolve mostly around relationships and the perceived ideas vs reality, love vs lust, seeking/finding true happiness, death, and making difficult lasting life choices.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Some other issues were drinking (throughout) and a few mentions of drug use/smoking.

Reviewed By Emily
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